May 08, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
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The relationship between beauty and technology continues to grow closer. Earlier this week we revealed how VR is being used to replace beauty samples, and now beauty retail giant Sephora has announced the launch of two new bot-powered beauty tools available on Facebook Messenger.
The LVMH-owned retailer was one of the first beauty vendors to introduce a bot earlier this year. Now, the new Sephora Reservation Assistant is an appointment booking bot that helps consumers to reserve a makeover at Sephora stores across the US, while Color Match for Sephora Virtual Artist is a shade-matching addition to the Virtual Artist bot that scans any photo and provides the closest lipstick colour match from the company’s entire assortment.
“Our two new bots for Messenger offer enhanced ways for our clients to engage with Sephora by streamlining how they access relevant service and product information on their mobile devices,” said Mary Beth Laughton, SVP of digital for Sephora.
She added that the Messenger platform can create “quick and natural conversational interactions that are client-led. This allows us to provide richer, more varied conversations that ensure clients get exactly what they want out of the experience.”
The Reservation Assistant bot uses NLP (natural language processing) to understand what the client types in free-form text, like the name of a city or a combination of date and time. The client can also book the appointment completely in Messenger, and receive a confirmation email.
For Color Match it has partnered with specialist ModiFace, the leading augmented reality tech name in the beauty sector. It says the bot can detect and accurately estimate the shade in any photo and uses advanced Artificial Intelligence to understand the content of images, whether it’s an object, another beauty product or the face of a celebrity.
Regardless of what the photo contains, the tech identifies the most prominent colours in the photo and allows the user to select one of them to view. From there, a list of the top matching lipsticks available from Sephora is offered. Matches can then be virtually tried on and purchased.
It will be interesting to see what this means for the future of the beauty shop floor assistant and if consumers prefer a human touch, or a seamless tech experience.
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